Pancreatic cancer is the fourth most common cause of death in the United States of America, and is also notoriously difficult to identify and detect. This is because of the fact that, in the earliest stages of the disease, pancreatic cancer does not show any regular symptoms, and often when it does, it is too late to start treatment.
- Surgical resection and treatment: Like mentioned before, the disease can be detected too late, but some patients are still candidates for undergoing cancer therapy surgery, which incises the affected tissue out of the body. When combined with other methods, it can prove effective in extending the patient’s life, and may even completely eradicate the cancer, though regular checkups should be conducted to ensure the cancer stays in remission.
- Symptoms seen: Pancreatic cancer has unique symptoms usually experienced as discomfort in the abdomen. These include jaundice, weight loss, increased blood sugar, insomnia, anorexia, bleeding in the gastrointestinal region, dyspepsia, and even the presence of ascites which are malignant in nature. If you possess any of these signs that seem out of the normal, it is best to visit the physician and undergo screenings.
- Screening and identification: Screening for pancreatic cancer involves computerized tomography, or CT scans, which is the most commonly used method, and has a ninety-five percent rate of accuracy in identifying problematic regions. For further narrowing down the type of tumor and issue, one can use biopsies where tissues from the region are carefully extracted and analyzed in enough detail to find the type of cancer, its aggressiveness, and the rate at which it is spreading, among other factors.
PET scans are an increasingly popular alternative for the identification of pancreatic cancer, as well as laparoscopy. There are more techniques being developed and refined every day.